Alternative holidays expand in the second half of 2021
The floor leader of the Democratic Party, Yoon Ho-Jung said on June 15th, “The Alternative Holiday Act will pass in the National Assembly as soon as possible so the Act can implement immediately from the upcoming Liberation Day on August 15th.”
The National Assembly approved the Alternative Holiday Act with 152 in favor, 18 in opposition, and 26 abstentions among 206 lawmakers at the plenary session on June 29th. So far, alternative holidays have been applied only to Chuseok, Lunar New Year, and Children’s day. However, the holidays will expand to all public holidays, giving the first weekday after the weekend that overlaps an alternative holiday in the future. The passage of the Act will give four extra holidays this year.
However, the Act does not apply to workplaces with fewer than five employees. The Power of the People Party opposed the Act, arguing that 3.6 million workers working at the small and medium-sized companies are excluded from the benefit. Representative of the Justice Party, Lee Young-Guk said, “The ruling party enforced the law swiftly. The bill must be submitted again and discussed thoroughly before enforcing the law.” Kang Eun-mi of the same party also argued against the Democratic Party by adding, “The National Assembly should revise the Labor Standards Act in July to resolve discrimination at workplaces with less than five employees.”
Small businesses have complained about such discussions in the Assembly. Mr. A., who runs a small company in Suncheon, responded negatively to the expansion of alternative holidays. He said, “Small companies are already under enormous burdens by the growth of the minimum wage and reduced 52 working hours a week. If the government adds this Alternative Holiday Act, it puts another burden on small businesses.”
Under the current Labor Standards Act, workers in small businesses with fewer than five employees are not eligible for paid holidays. Therefore, increasing public holidays can lead to the deprivation of workers at the small businesses. If the Labor Standards Act changes to expand the paid holidays to their workers, the small businesses would also lose a lot. That is why the government has been cautious in increasing the paid holidays although many citizens approve of them.
63rd Edition of Weeklymonday (July 19, 2021)
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